Sierra Leone’s new president has made big promises

JULIUS MAADA BIO wasted no time before being sworn in as president of Sierra Leone. Just an hour and a half after his narrow election victory was announced on April 4th, Mr Bio took the oath of office, forgoing the state house for a dimly lit room at the Radisson Blu hotel. The unusual circumstances were prompted by security concerns. During a long and tense campaign Mr Bio had accused the All People’s Congress (APC), the party of his opponent, Samura Kamara, of trying to assassinate him. Mr Kamara, for his part, said the vote was rigged.

The election was Sierra Leone’s fourth since its civil war ended in 2002. Memories of the brutal 11-year conflict still linger. Tensions based on ethnic, political and regional divisions simmered throughout the campaign, then boiled over when the result was announced. Supporters of Mr Bio’s Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) attacked followers of the APC, which previously held the presidency. Much of the violence has taken place in the SLPP’s…

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